2019/04/02 – The secretariat general of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) announced an international campaign to attract international investors to renovate railways linking Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
On January 31, the AMU published a statement on Facebook, emphasizing that it is preparing a promotional campaign for the “big project.”
The secretariat said it was looking to hire an adviser “whose task is to accomplish the promotion of the study on the economic feasibility of the project, and to communicate with international banks, international companies, and public and private sector companies.”
The project would include the renovation of the 363-kilometer railway line between Morocco and Algeria and another 503-kilometer railway between Algeria and Tunisia.
The project was previously proposed in 2015 when the general director of the Algerian National Railway Transport company (SNTF), Yacine Bendjaballah, talked about a high speed line linking Tunisia to Morocco via Algeria.
Al Jazeera reported that the project might cost $875 billion.
The AMU predicted that such a project “revived the hopes of the peoples of the region for a Maghreb unity that would bring them prosperity and well-being.”
Morocco maintains good diplomatic ties with Tunisia. However, political observers cannot say the same about Moroccan-Algerian diplomatic ties since the border between the two neighbors has been closed since 1994.
Algeria made the decision to close its border with Morocco after Rabat imposed visa regulations on Algerian citizens following a terrorist attack on the Atlas Asni Hotel in Marrakech.
But tension between Rabat and Algiers dates back further than that. In October 1963, the countries fought the Sand War over the border near Figuig in eastern Morocco. The war ended a year later when the US, the African Union, and the Arab League mediated the conflict.
Since then, the border has only been open for six years between 1988 and 1994. Morocco also accuses Algeria of undermining its territorial integrity by supporting the Polisario Front. But King Mohammed VI offered to break the stalemate by proposing a mechanism of dialogue and consultation on November 6.
Algeria, however, has ignored Morocco’s request up to this point, but AMU did not.
The secretary general of the AMU said that the proposal would ensure integration in the Maghreb.
The secretary-general also called on Algeria to accept Morocco’s offer.
MWN – Safaa Kasraoui